joi, 20 decembrie 2012

The hidden secrets of the Romanian Bran Castle

Going from Pitesti to Brasov (Kronstadt), only 30 km away from the last mentioned city, you can see the huge Bran castle, who was guarding  once, a few centuries ago, the passing from Wallachia to Transilvania. Anyway, please keep in mind that bran means gate, as translated from the Slav language.

Certificated mention of the Castle Bran apear first at 1470, within the Court documents of the Romanian ruler Basarab Laiota. The fortress of Bran was at that time at another location, beyond the pass, towards Transilvania. It was first build in wood, and later replaced by the German saxons with a stone one, when they first settled here, under the King Lodovic of Hungary. By the end of the XVth century another king simply sells the castle to the city of Brasov. Because the custom was next to it, this is going to be a good business for the city of Brasov, lasting up to 1836, when the customs moves to Giurala, and the place decays, losing its wealthy times
Detail map of the Bran Rucar pass

At 1st December 1920, by celebration the first Romanian National Day, Brasov City Council donates the Bran Castle to the Romanian Queen Maria, as a reward and recognition of the Royal contribution to the achievement of the Big Union. Afterwards, the Czech architect of the Royal Court, Carol Liman transforms the castle into a splendid summer residence. The Principess Ileana inherites the Castle Bran from his mother Queen Mary in 1938, and will be his master up to 1948, when the new communist regime nationalized it.

The respected Queen Mary passed the way in Pelisor, in 1938, and her last wil was that his heart shall be conserved and kept in Balcic. When the Southern Dobrogea and Balcic gone to Bulgaria after WWII, the clever Princess Ileana took her mother's heart from Balcic and hidden it inside a stone of Bran Castle. The heart was kept in a wonderful silver box with 307 precious stones. In 1971 the priceless artifact has been moved to the Bucharest National History Museum. Nowadays it is back to Bran, resting finally after so many events.
In the park of Royal Bran Castle you can pretend for a few moments  being a Royal highness.

In the communist times the Bran Castle has been a few decades neglected, but nowadays, after restauration works, it shows again to the enthusiastic visitors its best face. Before visiting the Castle, have please a long walk ito the park, pretending to be the King and the Queen. Please behave yourself in the best possible way, a full country has big expectations for you. Observe in the park the Village Museum, with old houses from Wallachia, made of wood, and discover the fantastic popular technologies of wood and wool working. Inside the castle enjoy the Medieval Art Exhibition, and take a look through the special narrow openings for the archers! Don't miss the Museum of Medieval Custom, opened in 1987, illustrating the diversity of the wares circulating between Wallachia and Transilvania. Also, lots of other documents, maps, measuring instruments, transportation middles etc. For the souvenirs hunters, you can find enough to the main entrance, but most of them are bind to Dracula, who stayed only one night to the Bran Castle.
In summer you can walk and climb the mountains in the neighborhood  and discover breathtaking landscapes with amazing villages

Eating and lodging in the neighborhood  you can find a lot in Moeciu (many smaller or bigger family pensions), or further in Brasov. In summer you can climb the spectacular mountains around, discovering amazing villages of Sirnea, Moeciu, Fundata, Rucar. A lot of work to do for you, dear friends, let me know about your travel planning in the area!

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